Christmas divination by Konstantin Makovsky

Christmas divination by Konstantin Makovsky

The theme of addressing the life of the common people found a wide response in the works of peredvizhniki artists. Each of them wrote images of the peasant class in their own way, realistically, or ideally, but invariably – with great love and sincere sympathy. Peasant images also found a place on the canvases of Konstantin Makovsky, who drew inspiration from folk tales, life and traditions.

A special nostalgia for folk customs is permeated by the painting “Svyatochnye divination”, which sings of gray antiquity. On it, the artist portrayed young girls who had gathered in a close light and started divination for the groom.

The girls chose the most appropriate time – it was the period from Christmas to Epiphany that has long been considered the best time to solve the secrets of the future.

The full moon shines brightly in the window. In the red corner lights a small candlestick icons. Pillows and featherbeds huddled on the stove in anticipation of hostesses. The girls, turning to the rooster, want to know their fate. They scattered a handful of grain on the floor in front of the bird and were waiting for their wish to be fulfilled or not. The cockerel is grabbing grain, and the girls think that more than twelve will not peck. Then they will calculate the remaining grain. There will be an even number of them – our plans will come true, and an odd number will have to wait for the next year. With joyful curiosity, as if from the inside shine girlish faces, so young and so beautiful.

One of the girls sits aside at the table and sadly looks in a deep bowl. Perhaps one fortune-telling is already over – wax was dripping into the bowl, and he told her the sad news? Nearby in the corner, the grandmother fell asleep – her fortune-telling remained in her youth. Now she has to watch over the girls, but old age has taken its toll, having beaten the grandmother with a dream.

Despite the fact that divination is held at night, the picture is filled with bright light and soft warm colors. Shades of golden, brown and red wake up the long gone old, with its icons, wooden huts and quietly burning candles. I want to return here, to feel the warmth of home, comfort and tell fortunes with young girls.

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